You don’t have to be rich to have a beautiful home and you don’t have to be poor to buy second-hand furnishings!


We all have different tastes and our homes are where we express ourselves the best.  I also think that taste, evolves as we grow and it is constantly metamorphosing as we change even if it’s only in minute detail.

When you walk into someone’s home for the first time, you can learn a lot about this person just by observing the surroundings.  If it’s messy and chaotic or without character/personality it makes me think that something is going on with this person, not always a bad something but something never the less.  If it’s full of character and personality it tells me that so is the person it belongs to.  If a kitchen is homey with constant activity, I flag it, as this is a place that I would definitely like to be in and we probably have a lot in common! 

Some homes are cosy and inviting giving a feeling of well being.  I often walk into someone’s home and think ‘what a fabulous idea, I could try that in my home’ and sometimes I feel that I could just have all my personal belongings shipped over and take up residence there and then. When it comes to style, some people just seem to have it don’t they? I think we all know someone like this, they seem to be able to add a throw here, tweak it a bit there and voila, perfection!  I grew up in a beautiful home, one that looked like it belonged in a magazine but my mum was so house proud that I often felt I couldn’t relax.  I never forget every evening, her saying as I got up off the sofa “plump the cushions up before you leave”!  I’m surprised her overzealous desire to create the perfect home didn’t bring out the opposite in me but we take on a lot more  from our mum’s than we sometimes care to admit.

When I first moved to Dubai, I lived in a small emotionless apartment for about 6 months before I realized I had a responsibility to my daughter to create a home for her.  Since then I have always aspired to create a home where everyone feels it is their haven, a safe place to retreat to from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.  It also has to be tidy otherwise it drives me up the wall, I can’t bear to see messy surfaces and if I can’t hide it or shut it away it quietly nags at me until I have to do something about it.

As I’m sure is the case with most people, I have been through tough times where disposable income was a dream and others where I have felt quite privileged but whatever state my financial affairs are in,  I always strive to create a home which makes me feel proud.

I am a bit of a junk yard queen, I love a bargain, can’t get enough of fleamarkets, car boot/yard sales and love nothing more than a good route around a second-hand store as I believe you can create your own piece of heaven without having to spend a fortune.  You just need patience, patience to find your ideal piece and patience to repair or repaint it to create the look you desire.  I know people who are on a very limited budget yet have beautiful homes and wealthy people who love nothing more than a route around the fleamarkets at the weekend.

I love that the term ‘second-hand’ which does sound pretty horrific and makes me feel like a hobo,  has now been replaced with ‘vintage’, which I think sounds so cool.  It’s not from an environmentalist point of view that I have sworn never to buy another piece of new furniture again, although it is something I am aware of,  I just think it is such a shame how so many wonderful pieces of furniture, art, lighting etc gets disgarded and ends up on the tip.   I too get tired of the same look and like a change (regularly I may add), that’s why it’s so fantastic to be able to pass my ‘hand me downs’ to those less fortunate or place them in the vintage shops to recoup some money before reinvesting it into another project.  Take for example my bedside tables, I wanted something a little French and looked in some of the interior design shops but was dismayed at the prices they were charging not to mention the flimsy quality of the wood.  So, I went to the local Troc ( furniture pound) and found these;

 In their original form Preparing for the colour 


I then set to work transforming them into what my heart desired with a little TLC and a lot of paint, I am thrilled with the result.  I found the whole process so satisfying, not only did I buy great quality but I got them at a fraction of the cost and matched them to the colour of my headboard.

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It takes many things to make a house a home and there is no right or wrong so maybe you can find that special something in your local vintage market? As it say's on the door "pourquoi êtes-vous gêné de sa vie" - why are you embarrassed, it's life, pop in and take a look.

What have you bought from a yard sale or vintage shop that just thrilled you to bits and has taken pride of place in your home?